04 Sep Why Your Attitude is the Most Powerful Asset as a Leader
This article was originally published on Medium.
As a professional, you might not have had much choice about where you came from, the resources you had, or what happened to you. But the one thing you absolutely have control over is your attitude — and this is your most valuable asset as a leader.
What exactly is attitude?
Attitude is a mental state. It refers to how you think or feel about something. You can have a lot of different attitudes at the same time that reflect many different facets of your life, such as how to treat people or approach tasks.
Why does attitude matter?
If you’re like most people, then your thoughts and feelings decide what you do. What you do eventually becomes a characteristic that can define you. So behavior, characteristics, and attitude are linked.
You can make it easier to adopt good, desirable behaviors that benefit you by choosing to have a positive or winning attitude. This is the overall attitude that’s most foundational to success.
But what does having a positive attitude mean? It does not mean that you simply ignore risk or fact, or that you’re happy and nice to everybody every day. It just means that no matter what comes your way, you choose to try to make the best of it. It means that you choose to try again instead of giving up. It means believing in yourself and what you’re trying to do.
Your attitude is the one career constant that people will notice about you. When you have a negative attitude, people feel anxious and less hopeful. So they don’t try as hard. They also don’t seek you out because they don’t feel good when you’re around. Team cohesion and relationships are weak. Conversely, when your attitude is positive, you inspire others. People want to be around you and work with you more. They are energized and confident and go after goals. And, they start to adopt a positive attitude based on what they see in you.
So, a positive attitude is important because business doesn’t happen in a bubble. Even freelancers who don’t associate themselves with a single company still have to interact with others to sell a service or something they’ve made. And a successful career requires a lot of different types of relationships. Mentors, employees, shareholders and lenders, friends, and family — they all play a part in supporting you and turning your dreams into reality. You can build these relationships well regardless of whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. But people need to know about you and what you want. They have to be able to interact with you and feel good about it.
Experience, skill, and knowledge are always valuable for leaders — but pedigree or checking off requirements isn’t a guarantee that you’ll come out on top. Often, it’s the people who have a positive attitude that are successful. It may seem obvious, but it can’t be overstated — a positive attitude is what enables both the relationships and grit that success requires. You can graduate from the best college and have quite the impressive resume, for example, but if you aren’t attracting others and forming real connections, and especially if you give up easily due to a negative outlook, then you won’t get far. This is why it’s so critical to pay just as much attention to your attitude as you do to your education, activities, and skill.
What’s the state of your attitude right now?
Remember, attitude is always a choice. By choosing a positive attitude, you are simultaneously choosing success. Now is the time to take a hard look at yourself. Do you really have a positive attitude? Or could your outlook use some improvement?
If your attitude needs some work, these strategies from Clarke University can help:
- Surround yourself with positive people and places. The positive attitude of others will rub off on you and encourage you to think and behave in a better way more consistently. Being in environments you enjoy can be relaxing and spur happy memories and emotions.
- Hit back at your inner critic. When you find yourself thinking something negative, reframe it so you’re focusing on the good.
- Do something for someone else. Volunteering and other acts of kindness can give you a profound sense of purpose.
- Enjoy the simple things. The more you focus on small joys, the harder it is to lapse into negative thought patterns that cloud your goals.
- Accept love. You are just as deserving as anyone else. Claim your value so you can believe in yourself, recover from failure, and keep trying.
Your attitude is by far the biggest determinant of your success. Embracing a positive outlook can give you a real edge, so work on improving the way you think and behave as much as you can. Little by little, you really can become the inspiring, high-achieving person you wish to be.